Sentiment towards technology warms as COVID-19 forces businesses to go digital

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in positive sentiment towards technologyas 57% of respondents to GlobalData’s poll stated that their attitude towards cybersecurity had become more positive in 2020. A further 53% of respondents were equally positive about cloud computing. Reliance on cloud computing for storage and collaboration has been a feature of the pandemic, according GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report, ‘Emerging Technology Sentiment Analysis Q4 2020’, highlights cybersecurity and cloud computing as two technologies that have increased in executives’ estimations.

Filipe Oliveira, Senior Analyst at GlobalData comments: “The increase in positive sentiment extends to less mature technologies like augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G. All were viewed more positively at the end of 2020 than at the start by over half of those surveyed.”

Respondents perceived AI as having the most disruptive potential. Almost 50% of them expected it to significantly disrupt their industries – the most of any emerging technologyAs high-performance computing enables more data points to be processed faster, AI’s disruptive force will become increasingly evident.

AR was second only to cybersecurity in terms of an increase in positive sentiment during 2020. Although there remains some skepticism about AR’s benefits, its use cases in healthcare, retail, and logistics became more prominent in 2020 as the pandemic progressed. The technology consequently saw an increase in positive sentiment. The same can be said about IoT, towards which 47% of respondents felt more positive at the end of 2020 than a year before.

However, the picture is less favorable for blockchain. Only 38% of respondents said they were more positive in the last quarter of 2020 towards the technology, the lowest mark in the poll. Almost a fifth of respondents believed that the technology is all hype and no substance. This is the highest share of any of the seven technologies that GlobalData enquired about in Q4 2020.

Oliveira continues: “Tech vendors have overhyped blockchain as a business solution, and the technology’s weaknesses (limited scalability, high energy consumption) have become apparent to enterprises. If these problems are mitigated, and expectations set to more realistic levels, views might change.”

5G is another technology that is still some way from achieving its full potential, but it is the one that 47% of respondents believe will disrupt their industry within the next four years. As 5G is rolled out, enterprises will seek to benefit from the faster speeds and lower latency promised to them by vendors.

Oliveira adds: “Despite the specific challenges some technologies still face, the change in respondents’ attitude towards them is encouraging. The survey reveals that most business people felt more positive towards five of the seven technologies polled: cybersecurity, AR, cloud computing, AI, and 5G. The COVID-19 pandemic has made businesses more aware of the importance of technology, especially cloud computing and cybersecurity. In 2020, the shift to home working increased demand for both cloud services and cybersecurity. This trend is likely to continue in 2021.”

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